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5 Ways Of Helping Others That Our Schools Should Have Taught Us But Never Did

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After four years of having left school life behind and having gone through various phases, I realised that there are lot of things which school never taught us, but which are essential nevertheless. I regret not having proper knowledge and only academic education limited to random books and notebooks. School never taught us about the joy of helping others, cooperating with others, sharing happiness and sacrificing for others.

In fact, in my own school life, I was once made fun of when I mentioned in a story I was narrating that the narrator gave his lunch box to poor man near the street light in the school campus. I was in Class 7 and I felt so bad, but I also knew this was the right thing we humans should do. I never spoke anything in class for a long time.

But, this is not only the one thing, but there are more things which school never taught us but in other countries it is taught. Some of these important things are:

Thinking About Others

School never taught us to think about others. Even when becoming a part of the group activity, our focus was just to gain more marks, do more work just for ourselves so that we get more marks than other group members. Even while being in a group, each one of us have different strategy going in the background. Everyone wants to win just for themselves and nobody wanted their group to win as a whole. This attitude made us selfish, and impatient.

Social Activities And Participation

In all the social activities, we were never taught about helping others in real life. It was just to teach some lessons and chapters and that too also in big, well-known schools. Nowadays, few schools are moving towards teaching students about this but still it’s not going to make any changes as it is very limited.

Financial Planning And Creative Activities

In school, we were never told how to do financial planning. The only extension of learning finances was to manage our parents’ money and buy books and stationery items. Yes, books and stationery items were seen as enough to inculcate financial responsibility.

Respecting The Disadvantaged

Take a moment to think how our school, society and environment treat the poor? How do people around you talk to rickshaw walas and roadside hawkers? The way they treat them gets carried forward to young children and they think this is the only right way to treat them. Sometimes, teachers should organise some group activities just for the purpose of learning and not for assigning homework. Sometimes, parents should teach their children manners.

Now, let’s discuss how we can help anyone in need:

Buying Them Food: sometimes buying someone food, say a thali, or fast food can be the biggest help for someone. It won’t cost us much, and it can be a lifesaver for many people. So, the next time you see anyone hungry, make sure you buy them something and pass your happiness along as well.

Tipping Generously: tipping generously is an appropriate and sensitive way of showing your appreciation for someone else’s hard work. Besides, it establishes a chain of happiness!

Volunteer: you can identify organisations and businesses which genuinely help the economically disadvantaged and volunteer with them. This will make sure you use your time well and will help you experience the joy of helping people.

Now, before you plan to do this, beware of fake publicity stunts and actions undertaken only for social media views.

Notify Authorities About Suspicious Activities: there are lot of international organisations and government departments who are actively working to remove injustice. Your small effort will help them in helping others. Therefore, whenever you see any illegal practice going on, you can quickly inform the respective department about it.

Lift And Encourage: sometimes having a conversation, support and direction will help them work in the right way. This may sound odd but this is the best thing to, which I personally recommend. Your words in times of difficulty may help them move in the right direction where they can stand on their own two feet.

In fact, even helping someone invest in a small investment or business can be of immense help to them!

Thanks for reading till here. It was great to see you give your time, because most of us don’t wish to help others, because we are so used to only thinking about ourselves. But, I hope we can make small changes each day. Happy helping. 🙂

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An ambassador and trained facilitator under Eco Femme (a social enterprise working towards menstrual health in south India), Sanjina is also an active member of the MHM Collective- India and Menstrual Health Alliance- India. She has conducted Menstrual Health sessions in multiple government schools adopted by Rotary District 3240 as part of their WinS project in rural Bengal. She has also delivered training of trainers on SRHR, gender, sexuality and Menstruation for Tomorrow’s Foundation, Vikramshila Education Resource Society, Nirdhan trust and Micro Finance, Tollygunj Women In Need, Paint It Red in Kolkata.

Now as an MH Fellow with YKA, she’s expanding her impressive scope of work further by launching a campaign to facilitate the process of ensuring better menstrual health and SRH services for women residing in correctional homes in West Bengal. The campaign will entail an independent study to take stalk of the present conditions of MHM in correctional homes across the state and use its findings to build public support and political will to take the necessary action.

Saurabh has been associated with YKA as a user and has consistently been writing on the issue MHM and its intersectionality with other issues in the society. Now as an MHM Fellow with YKA, he’s launched the Right to Period campaign, which aims to ensure proper execution of MHM guidelines in Delhi’s schools.

The long-term aim of the campaign is to develop an open culture where menstruation is not treated as a taboo. The campaign also seeks to hold the schools accountable for their responsibilities as an important component in the implementation of MHM policies by making adequate sanitation infrastructure and knowledge of MHM available in school premises.

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Harshita is a psychologist and works to support people with mental health issues, particularly adolescents who are survivors of violence. Associated with the Azadi Foundation in UP, Harshita became an MHM Fellow with YKA, with the aim of promoting better menstrual health.

Her campaign #MeriMarzi aims to promote menstrual health and wellness, hygiene and facilities for female sex workers in UP. She says, “Knowledge about natural body processes is a very basic human right. And for individuals whose occupation is providing sexual services, it becomes even more important.”

Meri Marzi aims to ensure sensitised, non-discriminatory health workers for the needs of female sex workers in the Suraksha Clinics under the UPSACS (Uttar Pradesh State AIDS Control Society) program by creating more dialogues and garnering public support for the cause of sex workers’ menstrual rights. The campaign will also ensure interventions with sex workers to clear misconceptions around overall hygiene management to ensure that results flow both ways.

Read more about her campaign.

MH Fellow Sabna comes with significant experience working with a range of development issues. A co-founder of Project Sakhi Saheli, which aims to combat period poverty and break menstrual taboos, Sabna has, in the past, worked on the issue of menstruation in urban slums of Delhi with women and adolescent girls. She and her team also released MenstraBook, with menstrastories and organised Menstra Tlk in the Delhi School of Social Work to create more conversations on menstruation.

With YKA MHM Fellow Vineet, Sabna launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society. As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

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A student from Delhi School of Social work, Vineet is a part of Project Sakhi Saheli, an initiative by the students of Delhi school of Social Work to create awareness on Menstrual Health and combat Period Poverty. Along with MHM Action Fellow Sabna, Vineet launched Menstratalk, a campaign that aims to put an end to period poverty and smash menstrual taboos in society.

As a start, the campaign aims to begin conversations on menstrual health with five hundred adolescents and youth in Delhi through offline platforms, and through this community mobilise support to create Period Friendly Institutions out of educational institutes in the city.

Find out more about the campaign here.

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A psychologist and co-founder of a mental health NGO called Customize Cognition, Ritika forayed into the space of menstrual health and hygiene, sexual and reproductive healthcare and rights and gender equality as an MHM Fellow with YKA. She says, “The experience of working on MHM/SRHR and gender equality has been an enriching and eye-opening experience. I have learned what’s beneath the surface of the issue, be it awareness, lack of resources or disregard for trans men, who also menstruate.”

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A Computer Science engineer by education, Nitisha started her career in the corporate sector, before realising she wanted to work in the development and social justice space. Since then, she has worked with Teach For India and Care India and is from the founding batch of Indian School of Development Management (ISDM), a one of its kind organisation creating leaders for the development sector through its experiential learning post graduate program.

As a Youth Ki Awaaz Menstrual Health Fellow, Nitisha has started Let’s Talk Period, a campaign to mobilise young people to switch to sustainable period products. She says, “80 lakh women in Delhi use non-biodegradable sanitary products, generate 3000 tonnes of menstrual waste, that takes 500-800 years to decompose; which in turn contributes to the health issues of all menstruators, increased burden of waste management on the city and harmful living environment for all citizens.

Let’s Talk Period aims to change this by

Find out more about her campaign here.

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A former Assistant Secretary with the Ministry of Women and Child Development in West Bengal for three months, Lakshmi Bhavya has been championing the cause of menstrual hygiene in her district. By associating herself with the Lalana Campaign, a holistic menstrual hygiene awareness campaign which is conducted by the Anahat NGO, Lakshmi has been slowly breaking taboos when it comes to periods and menstrual hygiene.

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A Guwahati-based college student pursuing her Masters in Tata Institute of Social Sciences, Bidisha started the #BleedwithDignity campaign on the technology platform Change.org, demanding that the Government of Assam install
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Bidisha was selected in Change.org’s flagship program ‘She Creates Change’ having run successful online advocacy
campaigns, which were widely recognised. Through the #BleedwithDignity campaign; she organised and celebrated World Menstrual Hygiene Day, 2019 in Guwahati, Assam by hosting a wall mural by collaborating with local organisations. The initiative was widely covered by national and local media, and the mural was later inaugurated by the event’s chief guest Commissioner of Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) Debeswar Malakar, IAS.

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